The Las Vegas Raiders surprised the NFL world during the Hall of Fame Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as starting running back Josh Jacobs played a couple of drives and recorded a whopping seven touches in the exhibition game.
Starters don't play much -- if at all -- in this special preseason game, which led to some speculation about Jacobs' future. However, NFL Media reported that the Raiders' top running back is not on the trade block, saying the team "has no plans" to trade him.
Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels addressed the trade speculation on Monday. "We have a lot of confidence in J.J.," he said (via ESPN). "We have no desire to do that at all."
McDanielswhy Jacobs played more than anticipated last Thursday night, saying he wanted his backs to experience some real game action.
"I always think it's good for backs to carry the ball in the preseason," McDaniels said after the game. "There's a lot of things that happen when you're getting tackled and hit that you can't simulate in practice. I think all our guys had the ball tonight. I think all our guys either caught it or were handed the ball and had to get tackled. We can't really simulate that or rep that in practice."
The No. 24 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Alabama is coming off of a season in which he recorded 1,220 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns. However, the team declined to pick up his fifth-year option, which means Jacobs will be a free agent next offseason.
Rapoport makes a good argument as to why the Raiders aren't looking to trade their top back. For one, he is their obvious starter, but he also comes very cheap in 2022, as his base salary is $2.12 million, per Spotrac. It's true that the Raiders have several other running backs that will get touches such as Brandon Bolden, Ameer Abdullah and rookie Zamir White, but Jacobs is the one with the most experience as a starter in this organization.
What happens with Jacobs next offseason will certainly be something to watch, but Vegas is not looking to move on from him at this point.